Active Muslimah: Beautiful minds (Exercise + Mental health)

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Mental illnesses in the Muslim community to this day, is still a taboo. Not many women feel comfortable speaking out about their situation for fear of not getting the right support, feeling alone in managing their condition and fear of a complex situation being put down to something as simple as a lack in ‘imaan’ (faith).

As more and more awareness is raised around these conditions, we have come to realise that it is not the few in-between that have some form of mental illness but instead these traits are among the masses.

Beautiful Minds

A company called inspiried minds conducted research around mental health in the Muslim community, using 290 participants, their findings were that ‘participants who knew of one or more persons who had a mental illness was 55% of males and 77% of females answered ‘yes’. 73.45% of the participants knew of one or more Muslim persons who had suffered from a psychological illness.

Depression, anxiety and schizophrenia were most mentioned.

The NHS Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey: Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, England, 2014 states that 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.

Exercise + Mental Health

Often exercise is seen as this mundane, painful chore and if that is the case why do so many people do it. “They’re simply not normal, thats why.”

Granted, you will always find that one individual doing some form of wackiness when it comes to exercise- we welcome them all the same-but aside from the exception, let me share some great reasons as to why people become fitness enthusiasts.

Exercise is social, exercise can be fun and it goes without saying that exercise is rewarding

I have met some of my closest friends in the gym, I practically lived there after work before becoming a personal trainer, it was my ‘me’ time. Everything I did in the gym or on a road run was for my own benefit and no one else’s. 

When you exercise your body releases endorphins, endorphins- what I call happy little fellas-also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric."

Exercise can be used as a treatment for depression and can also help with anxiety, stress,  arthritis and more.

As mentioned on the NHS site under exercise for depression, it states that ‘Regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it's especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression.’

"Any type of exercise is useful, as long as it suits you and you do enough of it," says Dr Alan Cohen a GP with a special interest in mental health.

Our bodies thrive off of movement

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Our bodies are designed to move, the same way a car is made to be driven. 

“Okay I get the point, so how is fitness fun”, with finding fun ways to get fit the possibilities are endless, you can do just about anything! Go on a scenic walk (in a safe location please), play tennis, go for a run, body board, orienteering, chase your child around soft play if that tickles your boat, gardening or join a class with a team of supportive fitness enthusiasts.

You simply need to find your fit, and thats all part of the fun. Search different physical activities that you can get involved in and tick them off over 4 weeks. Challenge yourself and enjoy the changes, once your motivated exercise can make a big difference and will leave you with a healthier body and mindset.